Chancellor Angela Merkel, leader of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union, won the national vote on Sunday, making her the only European leader to be re-elected since the financial crisis hit in 2008.
The CDU (in alliance with the Bavarian Christian Social Union) only narrowly missed winning an absolute majority of seats in Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament -- it won 311, falling short by five seats. Merkel will need to have a coalition with another party with seats in the Bundestag to form a government.
However, the CDU’s former coalition partner, the center-right Free Democratic Party, lost two-thirds of its support and did not manage to gain enough votes (5 percent) to qualify for any seats in Bundestag. The CDU will have to choose from one of three parties that did make it into Bundestag, but they are all left-leaning parties.
The most likely candidate for a coalition is the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which received 25.7 percent of the national vote. The SDP will likely demand the introduction of a countrywide minimum wage and for more taxes to fund social programs, which could lower Germany’s GDP. Coalition negotiations are likely to go on for weeks.
Here’s what you need to know about the German elections, in an infographic:
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